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Chatting Live with C.J. Redwine (Defiance)

C.J. Redwine

Last October 16th, I received an email from Young Adult Books Central telling me that C.J. Redwine, author of the young adult Dystopian book Defiance, will be having a Live Author Chat at their website the next day, October 17th at 9pm EST.

I immediately emailed Katy telling her about it and I said that I’ll “try” to attend it too. So here I am, about to show you what are the things C.J. Redwine revealed about Defiance. She also gave some trivia, tips about being a writer and share some of insight for the book two.

There are some questions that is not related to the book that I have not included in here. I’ll just go over the questions that has any relativity with the book, Defiance. Here’s C.J. Redwine for you guys and girls.


Q: What were the most difficult types of scenes for you to write?
C.J. Redwine: The most difficult scenes are the ones that require me to really go to a dark place emotionally and sort of scrape myself raw so that I can deliver an authentic emotional response in my character. There’s a scene in Defiance that was so awful to write. I cried the whole time I wrote it and then couldn’t write again for 3 days. For those who’ve read the book, I’m talking about the wagon scene.

Q: Do you have any plans foe a series/book when this series is through?
C.J. Redwine: I do! I’m not sure which idea I’m writing next, but you can expect steampunk, epic fantasy, dark stories inspired by fairy tales, and … who knows? 🙂

Q: Was there any significance to the names that you chose? For instance, why Rachel and Logan specifically? And how did you come up with Baalboden?
C.J. Redwine: Sometimes a name has significance for me in real life, sometimes it just FITS the character. For Rachel, I needed a name that could be strong and fierce. I was scrolling a names database, saw the name, and it just clicked. Logan … he was always Logan. He walked into my brain and said “Hi, I’m Logan and I invent stuff and am totally awkward with girls.” Baalboden is actually inspired by the prophets of Baal in the Old Testament of the Bible. In Baal, the prophets there challenge God to a dual, basically, with both of them calling down fire from heaven. Their pride set them up for an epic failure, and the Commander’s Achilles heel is pride. He thinks he’s God, basically, so that’s where the city name came from.

Q: A lot of YA books have a love triangle element. Why did you decide to avoid that in Defiance? Was it simply not in Rachel’s character?
C.J. Redwine: I actually hadn’t decided on that one way or the other. I let the story and the characters dictate that. I didn’t even realize Logan and Rachel would fall in love until I started writing. But yes, it really doesn’t fit with any of my characters. They are mostly very single-minded people. I also think Rachel isn’t an easy person to understand and therefore isn’t easy to love so it seemed unlikely another boy would get her the way Logan does. However, I do know there are Team Quinn people out there, so … I won’t crush your dreams.

Q: How do you go about world-building? Do you have it all written down, or just in your mind?
C.J. Redwine: It’s a combination. I write down a lot of the important stuff (esp stuff I have to research) so that I can keep it straight.

Q: what were some of your influences or got your creating juices flowing in creating each character and the storyline for Defiance?
C.J. Redwine: Overall, I’m very influenced by music, movies, and photographs. I saw this incredible picture of a fortress and it reminded me of a city-state and BOOM Defiance was born. As for characters, as I get to know them, I build a playlist of songs that speak to that character’s emotional journey and it helps keep me grounded in them.

Q: Welcome! When did you know you wanted to be a author? Have you always loved to write?
C.J. Redwine: I’ve been writing stories since second grade when it clicked for me that SOMEONE wrote all the books I loved to read. I always wanted to be published. I didn’t seriously pursue it until I was 30 because I had this idea that life had to slow down and get less complicated (I have 4 kids) first, but after I was diagnosed with cancer (have been pronounced cured now, so no worries!) I realized I was being foolish. Life is too short and unpredictable to wait to pursue your dreams.

TRIVIA: Btw, Oliver is based on my grandpa on my mom’s side. He taught me what quiet, gentle unconditional love looked like and he always baked sticky buns for me. He died a few years ago and no one will ever fill the hole he left, so I wrote him into a book.

Q: In current day geography where is the city of Baalboden?
C.J. Redwine: Baalboden between Nashville and Memphis, TN.

Q: How long was it between getting the idea for Defiance and actually sitting down to write the book?
C.J. Redwine: That’s a hard ? to answer … I had the idea of the Cursed One for YEARS but didn’t have the right story world for him. When I saw the pic of the fortress and thought of the city-states, it combined with the Cursed One and the FULL idea was there. I wrote the book 2 months later.

Q: Is there going to be more action and romance in the next book?
C.J. Redwine: There will definitely be more action and romance in book 2! Kissing in chapter one. For real. And then a fight scene soon after, so … yeah.

Q: Do you have a working title for the next book?
C.J. Redwine: Official title is being reveal the first week of December (with a fun contest!) Working title is DEFIANCE 2: NOW WITH 30% MORE DEFIANCE. Also known as CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF.

Q: Do you find writing in Dual Pov’s easy?
C.J. Redwine: I didn’t at first because I’d already written half the book in Rachel’s POV before I went back and added Logan in. It took a while to find his voice. But now it’s easy and I really enjoy it.

Q: What do you start with when your writing? Do you have a character, setting, or conflict that you build around?
C.J. Redwine: It all depends. Usually the character and the conflict arrive pretty close together because the character is in many ways a product of his or her world. But I only get a basic sense of the character and the overall situation. They have to wander around in my head for a while (sometimes for years) before I get the full picture.

Q: What is your opinion on hurting the protagonist to gain the reader’s empathy? I noticed that most of the pain Rachel experienced was emotional and psychological. Was that a conscious or unconscious choice?
C.J. Redwine:  I don’t hurt my characters to try to make them sypathetic to the reader. I hurt them if the plot calls for it. For example, the Commander is an effective villain because he keeps his word. I couldn’t prove that to the reader or to Rachel herself if he just threatened. He had to give her a first-hand demonstration so that everyone (reader and characters) would believe the stakes were HIGH. As for the other pain, my plot is the product of a series of choices my characters make. Choices have consequences and my characters FEEL those consequences the way you and I do in real life. I really want to be authentic to that reality.

Q: What were your favorite books as a teen? What are your favorite YA books now? Did they inspire you book in any way?
C.J. Redwine: My fave books as a teen were the Lord of the Rings series, Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannarah series, and any historical romance I could get my hands on! I love so many books NOW, I don’t know how to list them all. So many YAs. Recently I’ve loved Crown of Embers, Breaking Beautiful, Pushing the Limits and my mind is going blank …. eek! Books influence me in that I study what authors I’ve loved are doing right so I can always be learning.

Q: Where did you get the idea of male Protectors?
C.J. Redwine: The one thing the Commander truly fears is an uprising. One of the ways he stays in power and keeps people from rising against him is to pepetuate the myth that the women in Baalboden are too frail and too foolish to be a true contributor to society. I started writing knowing how he felt about women (he despises them because in his opinion they contribute NOTHING that he values and yet still require food and protection). Once I had Rachel walking the streets, I realized his punishment for the one who couldn’t hunt or fight (again, in his opinion) was to assign them Protectors and thoroughly marginalize them.

Q: If Defiance had a candle designed after it, what would it smell like?
C.J. Redwine: It would smell like fiery cinnamon! (And would have a lovely little steampunk emblem on the front from Logan)

Q: How old is Quinn meant to be? I got the impression he was a bit younger. No?
C.J. Redwine: He’s 18. You definitely won’t think he’s younger in Book 2, lol. 🙂

Q: What is your current read, CJ?
C.J. Redwine: I’m about to start reading Lucid (blanking on the author, but it just came out from Penguin, I think).

Q: I like how every other chapter was told from Logan’s perspective. Will you do that also in book 2?
C.J. Redwine: Yes, book 2 is dual POV too 🙂


Q: Let’s talk about that tragic wagon scene. (I’m still carrying a wee bit of a grudge over that scene, FYI.) Did you go into the book already knowing that that character would bite the dust, or did it surprise you?
C.J. Redwine: Oh, I had NO IDEA he would die. No idea. It was horrible!!!! I wanted to go back and delete that scene and find another way, but I couldn’t. I still miss him.

Q: The Commander is a great antagonist. Who are some of your other favorite villains & what story are they from?
C.J. Redwine: The joker in The Dark Knight (comic book/graphic novel which Heath Ledger used as inspiration for his portrayal) both fascinates and scares me. Also scared of President Snow from Hunger Games and the killer in The Architect by Keith Ablow.
C.J. Redwine: Oh man, I forgot to list Bellatrix Lestrange on my list of fave villains. Something truly scary about the combination of utter dedication and insanity.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
C.J. Redwine: Read widely and pay attention to how the author approaches pacing, characters, world etc. Write often and push yourself to try things that scare you. And remember that this business will reject you more than it will embrace you so keep your eyes on your dream and not on other people’s opinions.

Q: This is a discussion where spoilers are okay, right? If so, on Twitter, you mentioned that the ending of Defiance had been changed from the ARC difference. What was the change?
C.J. Redwine: The type of necklace the Commander is wearing changed. It’s a flat silver disc now and that’s important later, yo.

Q: Have you ever wanted to give up writing Defiance? Or have you had a really bad writing block?
C.J. Redwine: I never wanted to give up, but I’ve had a harder time with book 2. I’ve threatened to kill it with fire! But I keep thinking it through, talking it through w/my critique partners, and toiling away because I feel now that I’ve started, the characters deserve to have their entire story told.

Q: Ooooh thank you for answering. So is it safe to say there is more to the Cursed One than meets the eye? Will we learn more in book two?
C.J. Redwine:
Yes, we’ll learn more about the Cursed One in book 2. 🙂

Q: What living authors would you react to in an embarrassingly fangirl fashion if you could meet them right now?
C.J. Redwine: OMG JK ROWLING. I would offer to crawl inside her head and live for a while. Nothing awkward about that. Nothing at all.

Q: When we ferrets get scared (we only get a little scared, never a lot), we run into our palace with all the hammocks to feel safe. What about Rachel and Logan?
C.J. Redwine: Rachel tends to run straight toward whatever scares her as if by forcing herself to face it, she can defeat her fear. Logan stops everything and starts carefully thinking of five different ways to handle it.

Q: One of our favorite toys is a crinkly old plastic bag, big enough for all three of us to play inside. What is Rachel’s favorite toy?
C.J. Redwine: Rachel’s favorite toy is her Switch. Sadly, she just doesn’t know what to do with toys…


So there you go. Now, now, C.J. Redwine said that the Book 2 release date is set at the end of August 2013. I know, too long for us who already read the book. Furthermore, in book 2, it has more Quinn, more Willow and we will get to see another city-state in action. We’ll get to know Quinn, Willow and Slyph much better in the second book of the series.

Aren’t you guys excited for the second book and just like me, wishing for next year to come now?! If you haven’t read the book yet, I’ll gonna nag you until you read it, I mean, I’m suggesting you to read it cause it’s really good.

And so, that’s it. I hope you had a good time reading this post. Thank you! See you soon for another guest post!


  1. Katy
    October 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Wow, Lex! This is awesome!

  2. Katy
    October 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Btw I was curious. Was it a video chat or an actual chat room exchange?

    • October 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      It’s just a chat. 🙂 I actually thought it’ll be a video one. And thanks! I’m gonna work on the HoN next. 😉

  3. October 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    that was cool! thanks lexie!!

    • October 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      You’re welcome, darling. 😉

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